Balser Geehr 1
- Born: 22 Jan 1740, Germantown, Philadelphia County, Pennsylvania, USA
- Marriage (1): Catherine Iaeger
- Died: 19 Jun 1801, Maxatawny Twp at age 61
Balser Geehr was born of German parentage at Germantown, near Philadelphia, on January 22, 1740, and removed to Amity township, in Berks County, when a young man. By the year 1767, he was living in Oley township, employed as a gunsmith. While in Oley, he was married to Catharine Hunter (laeger), a daughter of Anthony laeger, and a sister of Col. Daniel Hunter. In 1771, he purchased a large plantation of nearly 500 acres in Bern township, several miles to the south of the Blue Mountain, and moved upon it in 1772.
When the Revolution began, he was a man of large influence in the northern section of the county, and upon the selection of a Standing Committee in 1774, for a proper guidance of popular sentiment in its behalf, he was naturally chosen to represent that section on this important committee. In the formation
of the Associators of Pennsylvania, Balser Geehr was one of the five delegates from Berks County who attended a meeting at Philadelphia in August, 1775. These delegates were known as the " Colonels of the Associated Battalions." He took an active part in the county militia. In 1775 and 1776 he was lieutenant-colonel of the 4th Battalion, which was composed of companies in the northern section of the county. In September, 1776, his battalion participated in the campaign about New York, but I cannot state what particular service was rendered.
He officiated continuously as a judge of the county courts from 1775 to 1784, and represented the county in the General Assembly for the years 1782, 1786, and from 1792 to 1799. These positions show the popular esteem in which he was held.
It is stated that he attended a levee given by President Washington in Independence Hall, in company with friends from Reading. In that day, cards were not commonly used but the names were announced. Upon arriving at the hall door, he gave his name upon request, and then it was called out to an usher at the first landing of the stairway, who in turn called it out again to another at the doorway of the assembly room, where it was again announced irl a distinct manner. Not having been acquainted with the custom, this public use of his name excited him so that he exclaimed in a loud tone of voice\emdash " Yes, yes, I'm coming ; give me time," to the great amusement of other invited guests about him.
He carried on farming extensively on the Bern plantation until 1796, and then removed to a farm of 231 acres in Maxatawny township, several miles north of Kutztown, which he had purchased shortly before. He died June 19, 1801, and his remains were interred in a private burying ground near the centre of the plantation last mentioned.
By his decease without a last will, and the decease of his two sons John and Jacob also, and his two granddaughters (the children of Jacob), dying intestate without issue, the Maxatawny farm became involved in very tedious and costly ejectment litigation, covering a period of fifteen years. One of the cases involving the trial is reported in Outerbridge Reports (Penna. State) vol. 9, p. 577, (1884); and another in Crumrine Reports, (Penna. State) vol. 28, p. 311 (1891). The trials excited much general interest
amongst the legal profession, and the cases reported are regarded as leading cases on the subject of title to land by descent. 1
Balser married Catherine Iaeger, daughter of Anthony Iaeger and Unknown.